Monday, January 23, 2017

Forgotten Crafts: The Icon Maker

For today's inspiration Monday I chose to write something completely different from what I usually do. Once in a while I'd like to present and dwell on crafts that are fighting oblivion; crafts from the past that are still treasured by a handful of artists. One of those is icon painting. The purpose of the icon is to stimulate praying atmosphere. Its role is far from being solely decorative; its most important role is to spread  the evangelical truth. It is the means through which we send our prayers to God.

I have had the pleasure to meet an incredible icon painter - Tome Steryev. Tome has been painting icons for 7 years now, using  two painting techniques - tempera and acrylic.
It usually takes from two to five weeks for an icon to be made. He shares the process of creating one:

"I make the icons strictly following the church canon laws, starting by applying the primer on a wooden foundation which is most often linden wood. After carefully spreading the primer and making it even, I start outlining the contours of the Saint. After that I apply the golden foil and start painting the robe first and the face in the end. The face should radiate peace and light representing the numinous state of the Saint. The icon has its own symbolism. The wooden foundation represents the material - the creation. The golden foil represents the holy spirit, while the robe stands for the purity of the Saint."

 Archangel Michael and St. Nicholas    
 St. John the Baptist

Steryev Art accepts custom orders if you are interested in buying an icon or some of his incredible paintings.  


Divya N said...

I teach craft promotion and understand how vital it is to document languishing crafts and to promote them. I hadn't considered icon painting as a craft before reading your post. But now I am curious to know more about it. Thanks for sharing

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

Very interesting. I didn't realize so much went into painting these prayer icons.

Maya Kuzman said...

Glad you like it Divya! I have seen live icon painting and it is really fascinating.

Maya Kuzman said...

I admire the dedication and the patience icon painters invest in their creations!

Kim said...

I never understood icon painting to be so complex. It is truly a beautiful art. Thank you for sharing, Maya

Maya Kuzman said...

I have always been deeply touched by icons. They have a great meaning in our culture and traditions.